“I’d give up forever to touch you…” : Shoja, Himachal Pradesh Travelogue by Sangeeta



I want to go to  

“I’d give up forever to touch you…”

“I’d give up forever to touch you…”

A write-up of my trip from to Shoja via Shoja

Rank 7 /10 | 6791 Views

15 Comment(s) | + See Comments & Add your Own | View Map

When ‘Goo Goo dolls’ sing their famous number ‘IRIS’, I don’t think they ever refer to any wild flowers. But I couldn’t find a more apt way to express my feelings for the delicate delights of the purple & blue hills of Shoja, Himachal Pradesh. In my opinion, it is the other ‘Valley-of-flowers’. Just a few hours drive from Aut on the way to Jalori is this valley of flowers in Himachal, for those who can’t trek for 3 days in the one Uttaranchal.


I first saw wild Iris in Hampshire, UK. Everyday on my way to office I’d eagerly peer out of my taxi for that turn which opened up a little patch of bright yellow daffodils & purple irises. I waited in anticipation for that unruly colourful patch that punctuated the otherwise neat and orderly green countryside.


“Don’t you get these flowers in India?” the taxi driver asked.

“We do, up in the Himalayas, but I haven’t seen any there.” I secretly wished there was some way I could touch the flowers. Much later I downloaded some pictures, & hoped someday I’d touch them.


My wish was granted on the summer I went to work for a summer camp in the Trithan valley in Himachal. It was one regular morning and we were taking the kids on a trek towards The Great Himalayan National Park beyond Goshaini. I was on my leisurely walk plucking tiny wild strawberry from the undergrowth of shrubs. That is when I spotted my first ‘Iris’. I screeched the trekking team to a halt. I jumped and shouted & scared people by doing so. My trek partners were surprised. Someone plucked some cannabis, “Where did you get it? Show me where did you rub against ‘bicchu buti’ (stinging nettle)?”

"No, I didn’t get the bichhu buti”. (Rubbing cannabis is a sure cure to stinging nettle… but the resultant residue you get where you rub it, is another tale altogether)

The guide, teased, “I told you, don’t have those wild strawberries. All sorts of creatures pee on them.”

The trek leader, glared, “Stay on the hill side.”


It took me some time to explain to them that I was so excited about a lone blue flower hidden among the bushes. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

The men gaped at me for what seemed like hours. I grasped for words, “Well isn’t it? I haven’t see anything like that before.” They looked at me aghast, "so this is what that hysterical shouting and jumping was all about! HUH!"


----- “Well alright, it is pretty,” thankfully someone joined me, “Come we’re late for the camp. You’ll see more”, said Christopher our trek leader, in an offhand manner.

And sure enough I found more at the campsite & went utterly shutter crazy.

“You like Iris?” Christopher asked.

“Like??? I love them. Adore them.”

“Wait till June, we’ll see more. I promise you. You won’t feel like leaving that place.”

 Iris Fields

‘MORE’ was an understatement. It was 1st week of June; we were coming back from Jalori. The cool breeze & reggae songs almost lulled me off to a nap. The tall pine trees all around were reaching out as earth’s prayers to god. I was soaking up as much green as I could with my eyes. The wheat terrace fields were a choc-a-bloc mosaic of yellow & green. Suddenly I spotted some blue in the deep & verdant coniferous hillside.


“Iris. STOP” I yelled. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The entire lower hillside looked like a page from a fairytale book. Rows & tufts of the plant were growing all over the place. The sun & shade from the huge trees created a magical web with specks of blue in it. A small stream with a water wheel, a yellow wooden bridge & a quaint cottage with a cabbage patch & shocking pink rose bushes. I wonder if the 7 dwarfs were somewhere around.


I hung myself from the Bolero window & filled my memory cells with as many different views as possible. Christopher stopped the car, “Get off.”

What? Has he had too much of my ranting iris, iris, iris?

“You’ll either cause an accident or fall off the window. So go get them.”


I almost fell off the cliff, trying to balance myself & collect the flowers. I stuffed them in my empty water bottle, filled it up from a hand-pump in Jibhi & carried them back to camp. They looked like ballerinas in blue frilly dresses & arms up in position, ready to start dancing. I wasn’t aware of the flower much. But just hoped that they last me a few more days. But sadly by dusk their six petals started neatly rolling in & twisted around each other like the curtains coiling in after a great show. So all the 7 blooms I had, had quietly got over with their display. The flower has style & elegance, even in drying.


I felt bad that I was so busy admiring them all the while that I just forgot to even take a photograph for my album. I didn’t feel like throwing the stems. I kept hoping on the two buds. Two days later, early morning I had 3 mauve flowers sitting pretty, at my window. And believe me they were wonderful. The next 10 days I had a gift of 3/5/7 flowers. But where did all the buds come from?

Tip --- Even if there aren’t any more buds, be lazy & don’t throw the stem. Just below the flower is a bulge, which is a hidden treasure of buds. They take their own sweet time to bloom. Enjoy.

 Iris Fields

I went again, several times in June. Every time with a new batch of friends, equally awed by the fantastic sight. For almost 4-5 km the entire hillside was blue. Now it was the guys’ turn to go crazy. The sight is so overwhelming that you have to consciously keep your hands off your camera. I think all of them exhausted a reel each.


In the last week of June I sang the ‘Iris’ all the way to our destination. It was drizzling. And this time I couldn’t see much of the jungle around hidden in thick clouds. But I saw the upper hillside abloom since the weather was getting wetter with less sun. Iris needs a moist climate to bloom & is a delicate flower. You can’t carry them back to Delhi. But you can press them in books or just like I did, fill your mind with it.


Those who aren’t too crazy about flowers won’t understand my craze for them. I’m passionate about flowers. But all of you who have often sighed at the tulip fields of Holland, and wished you could run into the flower beds & lie down among them; Go to Shoja in summer. You can stay nearby in the govt. rest houses or camps. And spend some days just being a flower child. Trek in and around the jungle, live a fairy tale holiday. It isn’t difficult to find pleasure in small things of life. As for me, after my daffodil earrings, I’m beading my ‘Iris’ necklace.

Getting there

By Road : The best way is to drive. It will take about 4 hrs from Delhi on the National Highway 1 to Chandigarh.

If you enter Himachal from Chandigarh, Kalka and Shimla then go via Theog, Narkanda, Ani, Khanag, Jalori Pass and Shoja.

If you enter Himachal from Ropar and Bilaspur then continue on the Manali highway to Aut after Mandi. From Aut turn right towards Larji, Banjar and then Jibhi and Shoja to Jalori pass.

One caution note for Bikers and small car owners. The roads on both sides of the Jalori are steep. So is the road from Jibhi to Shoja and Narkanda onwards to Ani and Jalori.

Luxury Volvo buses leave from Cannaught Place, almost every evening. Book your tickets in advance from authentic Himachal Tourism office not franchisees.

By Air : Land at Bhuntar at Kullu and come down towards Mandi and then follow the Route from Aut.

By Rail : Last Railheads are at Kalka, Shimla, Ropar, Chandigarh, Hoshiarpur, Jallandhar, Una etc. Beyond that take roadways buses or hire sumos.

Accomodation : A high-end camp is there at Shoja, the Banjara camps. But we preferred staying with locals or camping by the Tirthan. and the PWD Guesthouse.

Best time to see IRIS is in May end and June. But it rains a lot during that time so be careful on the roads.

Hope you enjoyed reading my travelogue.

The Current rank is 7/10. Please Rank it...
Low  Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3 Rank 4 Rank 5 Rank 6 Rank 7 Rank 8 Rank 9 Rank 10  High

15 people have left their comments, see what they said.

I'd be glad if you'd also Add your Comments. Thanks.

This Travelogue '“I’d give up forever to touch you…”' was posted by Sangeeta on Wednesday, August 08, 2007.


Visit our Sangeeta Page with links to all Stories & more

+ See Profile | Leave a Message | Add as a Friend

15 Comments on '“I’d give up forever to touch you…”'
A travelogue about a trip to Shoja
On 7/18/2008 10:10:28 AM PHOTOTZAR said...

Another great piece on OKTTBB. .

On 2/26/2008 5:47:45 PM Rupesh Thakur said...

great stuff!!!!!!!!!please keep writting such wonderful experiences..

On 10/23/2007 3:14:11 PM subodhdas said...

nice reporting. I am wildlife lover but now I will definetely serch these flowers. keep posting.

On 8/20/2007 11:58:45 AM Deeptha said...

Very beautifully written. I could picture you screeching and bringing the team to a halt :).

On 8/20/2007 11:57:28 AM Deeptha said...

Very beautifully written. I could picture you screeching and bringing the team to a halt :).

On 8/18/2007 8:56:39 PM ESSGEE said...

Sangeeta, You have written a very passionate and absorbing piece. Iris is comonly seen around passes in Himachal after the snow melts. In fact these are the first ones to show up along with butterflies. Glad to read that enthusiasts like you trudge my state. Excellent travelogue. May be I wil also post something on Himachal in a few weeks' time. Bye ESSGEE.

On 8/18/2007 1:26:13 PM shutterbug said...

I'm not much of a flower person myself. I actually did a 'search' on Iris and Shoja on the net. Believe me yours is the best description of the place. Everywhere else it just says..'Wild flowers'. You are right too many people or tom any hotels may spoil the beauty... But I will surely visit this place. next summer. .

On 8/18/2007 3:18:58 AM Deepak.rs said...

Very well written and enjoyed reading each line...It was like being at the place myself.... Thank you very much.....

On 8/15/2007 8:00:12 PM Sangeeta said...

Thanks a lot folks... for all your comments... You must visit this place next June... but keep it a secret... cause too much of people influx may ruin the ecology of the place. :-) cheers sangeeta.

On 8/14/2007 11:33:16 AM Gagga said...

Great Stuff Sangeeta !!!! Really enjoyed reading..

On 8/13/2007 10:24:52 AM poojaalld said...

good and interesting.

On 8/10/2007 12:40:44 PM Deepak Amembal said...

wonderfully refreshing travelogue indeed! loved it! thanks for sharing.

On 8/9/2007 9:45:18 AM pOLo said...

It was truly magical sharing your love for the Iris. Thanks for sharing your trip (trips!!) here. If you're going again, count me in for sure. this is so well written I've asked a few flower loving friends to drop by for a read.

On 8/8/2007 10:19:09 PM Lion said...

A trip to VOF always welcome. Nice reading.

On 8/8/2007 9:15:08 PM Mukesh Miyan said...

Hey..it's a revelation...another Valley of Flowers! Heading to one in Uttaranchal this Friday with a bunch of friends...! And interestingly the trip is planned here on the site..just check Travel Buddies. Would love to see Himachal one..any plans for next June.... please book me for sure. BTW...faboulous to read..your love for flowers Iris in particular...oozes out.. .

Other Similar Travelogues
Trekking through the Apple Kingdom Rank 10 /10 | 2212 Views
Trekking through the Apple Kingdom

About a trip from New Delhi to Shoja via Kirathpur, Sutlej Valley,Thanedar

Imagine a perfect morning, the sky just the right shade of blue with a smattering of cirrus clouds ... read more

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008 by Rajesh R

Add Your Comments
Start below*
You have 1000 characters left to work with
Existing Tags: Shoja, Valley of flowers in himachal, Himachal pradesh, Jalori, Iris flower, Himachal pradesh, Valley of flowers in himachal, Valler of flowers, Iris
Add Tags
Click on tags in the list above to add. Separate by commas.
Tags are simple words you feel best Group & Describe the Photo

Shoja Travel Guide.

Download for free

Download | Customise

Hotel Reviews | Destination Guides | Travel Directions | Holiday Ideas | Travelogues | Travel Q & A | Photo Gallery | Plan a Trip | Travel Blogs

Holiday Ideas India Hotels Top India Destinations India Travelogues Theme Pictures
Monsoon Holidays
Wildlife Tours in India
Artist Villages in India
Fairs & festivals of India
Best Places for Kids
Chennai Hotels
Hyderabad Hotels
Goa Hotels
Pune Hotels
Kolkata Hotels
Hampi Travel Guide
Darjeeling Travel Guide
Amritsar Travel Guide
Munnar Travel Guide
Goa Tourism
Mumbai To Goa : A Road Guide
Hardwar to Ranikhet - River Goddess ... Mountain Beauty
Rajasthan Bound
A trip to Pauri Garhwal -II
Again in Dooars Oct 2013
Pitch it for ... Pichavaram!
Uttrakhand - the beauty queen
A trip to Shimla-Manali_Amritsar
Bannerghatta National Park
Nature & Landscape
Wildlife Sancturies
People & Portraits
Night Time Photos
Black and White

India Travelogues at OkTataByebye

Oktatabyebye.com is India's leading community of travellers and provides a place for travel enthusiasts to find and share travel experiences, recommendations and honest advice on travel in India...read more about us

© 2013 www.oktatabyebye.com . All rights reserved.
Oktatabyebye.com is not a travel agent & does not charge service fees to its users.
* All reviews, ranks, ratings & votes on Oktatbyebye are solely the views & opinions of the users. Oktatabyebye is not responsible for content on external web sites.

// Default Y